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 > California Non-commercial class A license ***New question***

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laknox

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Posted: 12/13/19 09:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AirSupport wrote:

94-D2 wrote:

So,

Been a LEO (not local PD or Sheriff) for the past 25 years and hold a commercial class A license. Been through each scenario that has been spoken about on this thread. Allow me to substantiate most of what is being said.

Driver’s license violations are essentially a secondary violation. Meaning, I can’t stop you just because I want to see if your properly licensed. A license check point IS constitutional if it is in conjunction with a DUI checkpoint. If it is legal in your state, then reciprocity is extended in CA (unless your a cheater and operating in commerce).

Most DMV employees and Leo’s (not all) generally do not understand the complexities of licensing requirements nor actually know what licenses, endorsements or restrictions are available and what is required depending on equipment. But, if need be, they will seek resources. A sales person will sell you anything and not really care how you are licensed. A non commercial class A is only good for driving/pulling an RV not for hire (what about these people that deliver an RV from a dealer. They need a commercial class A).

Almost every horse person with a horse trailer with or without quarters does not have a proper license (I have yet to find a properly licensed operator in all my years with few exception). You must have a commercial class A license with double endorsement to pull more than one trailer in CA. 65’ is the statutory length limitation in CA for any combination of vehicles (doubles can be 75’ but no RV combination can meet the parameters). Finally, yes, You must bring an appropriately licensed operator to your drive test or you will fail your test attempt and potentially be cited.

Driving out of class is an infraction (unless hazmat) and driving without a proper endorsement can be a “ fix it” ticket or regular infraction. More importantly, driving out of class is an automatic out of service order. Meaning, at worst your vehicle can be impounded or (least) placed out of service until deemed to be in compliance. Like dropping a trailer or obtaining a properly licensed operator.

This stuff is no joke. It can be costly, unsafe, inconvenient and will certainly ruin a vacation. Do it right and get properly educated, trained, licensed and insured. It’s the only way to be confident, responsible and safe. That will help ensure you enjoy your road trip.


94,

Thanks for the 411. Another question which I wasn’t able to find an answer for... in Cali is there anything special about pulling a fifth wheel with a typical “dually” (Ford, Dodge, GM) where the combined weight of the two mandates any other licensing requirements? Reason I ask is I read in another forum someone claiming this, but ther person didn’t cite a vehicle code. The thread was over 8 years old and there was no other details.

My plan was to get a new Dodge 3500 4x4 crew cab dually that has a GVWR of 14,000lbs (according the the website) and the fifth wheel we love is around 19,000lbs GVWR. Total combined GVWR = 33,000lbs. THE DMV licensing class chart doesn’t mention anything about a combined fifth wheel and truck weight, so I figured I’m good to go with just a non-commercial Class-A, right? (If you know).

Many Thanks in advance.


Most states are going to have a license endorsement on anything over 26,000 lbs, if what I've read in the past decade+ on the forums. Commercial or private, MH or truck/trailer, doesn't matter.

Lyle


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94-D2

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Posted: 12/13/19 10:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

For CA, once you upgrade your license to an A, your good to go. There is a section that says if you are a B holder and your combination exceeds 26,000 or if you are a farmer where your combination exceeds 26,000 on a “C” DL, then you need a class A

This booklet is a good resource RV guidebook


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hotpepperkid

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Posted: 12/13/19 10:42am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

big bird 2 wrote:

I live in CA. I applied for the endorsement and the DMV clerk told me there was no such thing and referred me to the commercial DMV office. Her boss happened to walk by and asked me to follow him. He had me fill out an application for a 5th wheel endorsement and gave me two separate written tests. Eye examine, but no driving test or physical examine. He asked me what I drive and never made note of it. I passed the test and have the endorsement. The problem is the DMV manual is not well written and most DMV personnel just do not know. Even better, ask a traffic cop. They don't know either.

Risk; cops don't know so a ticket is unlikely. An accident could be a problem if the insurance company knows the law. If you do not have endorsement, get in an accident and they know about endorsement, you loose.


When we lived in CA we went to DMV to get that endorsement and not one person in the office we went to had clue. If it hadnt been for someone from Sac there doing some training we would likely still be there. And your right most cops dont have a clue either. The local ones dont even care. I ask a CHP PIO office at a booth at the fair and he didnt have clue either but he finally admitted most of them wouldnt know either. He said the guys doing commerical enforcement would know. There are 7XX of them and 3 million of us so the chances of getting a ticket is pretty slim


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94-D2

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Posted: 12/13/19 11:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What you say is true. However, I would and have written the ticket, placed out of service and impounded vehicles for irresponsible drivers doing it (not all since every case is different and may mitigating circumstances). It is the responsibility of the driver to know what is required when they are driving it. Don’t not do it (obtain the appropriate license) because you don’t like the answer or your afraid of it. Obtaining a class A license is a big deal and not easy. It’s is that way for a reason. The reason it is ambiguous for Leo’s and DMV personnel is because it is obscure and out of the norm for the other 26,000,000 licensed drivers in the state.

The 5th wheel endorsement is not an endorsement in DMV language. That is part of the confusion in asking for it. It is a restriction on a class C license in endorsement clothing, so to speak. To be clear, any class C operator needs the 5th wheel restriction on their class C license if towing a 5th wheel RV between 10,000 and 15,000 lbs. anyone towing a 5th wheel RV OVER 15,000 lbs or a travel trailer over 10,000 lbs must have at least a non commercial class A.

And, for anyone using an Anderson ball conversion, Class A if over 10,000 lbs. why, because of the adapter. It is no longer a 5th wheel connection and you loose the exception. Is every street cop goi g to know this.....nope but I do and therefore those I work with do too. So why chance it.

AirSupport

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Posted: 12/13/19 11:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Cummins12V98 wrote:

"Dodge 3500 4x4 crew cab dually that has a GVWR of 14,000lbs"

No such thing!

I found that number on the Dodge truck website after clicking “build your truck.” I put all the options I wanted on it as far as engine, bed length rear axle (dually), factory installed rear axle air bags and driveline. It clearly came up with “GVWR 14,000.” I was shocked too but that’s what comes up. Correct me if I’m wrong, it that number is what the truck is capable of hauling, not its actual weight off the dealer’s lot, right???

Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I’ve done it several times and it’s always the same.

Never the less and from what I understand, DMV goes by GVWR (what it’s capable of hauling) and not what it’s actual weight is, when setting limitations on vehicles.

I just wondered if my GVWR COMBINED with truck and fiver and exceeded 26,000lbs, would I then need maybe some other life fe class or endorsement.

Thanks again all. I’ve learned a lot from some experts here on this thread.

* This post was edited 12/13/19 11:58am by AirSupport *

big bird 2

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Posted: 12/13/19 11:43am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sutter, my CA drivers license says on the reverse side,

CLASS C. Veh w/GVWR <- 26000, No M/C
ENDORSEMENTS" None
RESTRICTIONS" 41-Class A restricted to operating 5th wheel
travel trailer between10,000 and 15,000 lbs GVWR


Big Bird 2

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Posted: 12/13/19 11:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

AirSupport wrote:

Cummins12V98 wrote:

"Dodge 3500 4x4 crew cab dually that has a GVWR of 14,000lbs"

No such thing!

I found that number on the Dodge truck website after clicking “build your truck.” I out all the option I wanted on it as far as engine, bed length rear axle (dually) and driveline. It clearly came up with “GVWR 14,000.”

Maybe I’m reading it wrong, but I’ve done it several times and it’s always the same.


There is no such thing as a DODGE that's rated at 14k. I "think the 2012 DRW Dodge trucks were GVWR 12,500 or so pounds. Someone please correct me.

Now there are RAM's that are rated at 14k. DODGE trucks Legally died at the end of the 2012 model year. 2013 model year is when they Legally became RAM with 14k GVWR.


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discovery4us

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Posted: 12/13/19 12:36pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have operated many different variations of Recreational Vehicle combinations over the years and have always done what I could to make sure I was within regulations. Most of it is easily interpreted but some areas are clear as mud.

I have personally accompanied people to the CA DMV on five occasions for their non commercial class A driving test and only once did the DMV ask if they had a properly classed driver with them. I recommend having them with you just in case they do ask.

My research showed the only time one needed to be concerned with GCWR was if you were a farmer or farm employee. One does need to be concerned with GVWR and more importantly the GVWR of the trailer. Over 15,000 lbs. on the FW and you definitely need the non commercial class A.

I agree with the statement made about getting a class A and being done but unless your truck is registered as a motor truck or tractor truck and not a pickup truck I don't think the CA DMV will let you get anything higher than a non commercial license. I don't remember the exact weight to get reclassified but it is probably somewhere in the 12,500 lbs. range and the DMV fees will be noticeable higher and you may even need to put the CA numbers on the side of the truck.

Cummins12V98

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Posted: 12/13/19 03:29pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would like to hear from someone that actually have been cited for not having proper license to haul heavy in CA.

94-D2

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Posted: 12/13/19 04:52pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

discovery4us wrote:

I have operated many different variations of Recreational Vehicle combinations over the years and have always done what I could to make sure I was within regulations. Most of it is easily interpreted but some areas are clear as mud.

I have personally accompanied people to the CA DMV on five occasions for their non commercial class A driving test and only once did the DMV ask if they had a properly classed driver with them. I recommend having them with you just in case they do ask.

My research showed the only time one needed to be concerned with GCWR was if you were a farmer or farm employee. One does need to be concerned with GVWR and more importantly the GVWR of the trailer. Over 15,000 lbs. on the FW and you definitely need the non commercial class A.

I agree with the statement made about getting a class A and being done but unless your truck is registered as a motor truck or tractor truck and not a pickup truck I don't think the CA DMV will let you get anything higher than a non commercial license. I don't remember the exact weight to get reclassified but it is probably somewhere in the 12,500 lbs. range and the DMV fees will be noticeable higher and you may even need to put the CA numbers on the side of the truck.


DMV has nothing to say regarding what license you want as long as you qualify for it. No weight rating determines what license you want. You can have a CDL A and drive a Prius if you want to. A pick up is defined in the vehicle code and is up to11,500 lbs GVWR. if you have a flat bed dually, you will need declared weight tags and possibly CA numbers if used to earn a living. I get to pay an extra $390 on my Ram 3500 cause it’s GVWR is 11,700 and no longer a pick up.

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